Weber State football: Wildcats can't quite close the deal against Montana Grizzlies

Published: Saturday, Nov. 3 2012 7:00 p.m. MDT

Montana drove deep into Weber territory early in the second half, but the Wildcats' Antwain Stutson came up with his first career interception to snuff the threat. Weber State's offense responded by going 66 yards in seven plays, and Kris Parham gave the Wildcats a 14-10 lead with a 1-yard TD run.

Then it was Montana's turn, and the Grizzlies drove all the way down inside the WSU 10 before settling for a 22-yard field goal by Chris Lider — who had missed two of his first three field-goal attempts — that cut the 'Cat lead to 14-13 late in the third period.

The Grizzlies grabbed the lead midway through the fourth quarter, going 80 yards in 14 plays and forging in front on Smithwick-Hann's 9-yard touchdown pass to wide-open receiver Bryce Carver. Smithwick-Hann then hit Sam Gratton on a two-point conversion pass to make it 21-14.

Then when WSU quarterback Mike Hoke had the ball poked loose from his hand, Montana recovered and capitalized on a critical 35-yard field goal by Lider to take a 10-point lead, 24-14, with 3:53 left to play.

That made it a two-score game, but Dixon gave the Wildcats new life when he took the ensuing kickoff from 3 yards deep in the end zone and went all the way up the sideline for a touchdown — the first kickoff return of his collegiate career, no less — trimming Montana's margin to 24-21 with 3:41 remaining in the game.

"Everybody just did their job, and we just won the play," said Dixon, a freshmen cornerback. "I was just hoping (the Montana kicker) didn't tackle like our kicker."

After Cordero's electrifying kickoff return, Weber State elected to kick it deep rather than attempt an onside kick. But the Grizzlies picked up a couple of first downs to force WSU to burn all of its timeouts, then ran out the remainder of the clock to preserve the victory.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com

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